If you want to walk the walk, then you’ve got to talk the talk. That means, if you want to become a leader you need to sound like one already.
Either way, successful performance in your job is only one component that attributes to career growth. The way that you communicate is just as crucial to the upward mobility of your career, particularly if you wish to become a leader amongst your peers.
This means that you need to send a clear message that naturally establishes your actions and your thoughts in a leadership role. To become a leader, and to project leadership qualities, you’ll want to make sure that you sound like a leader in your role already.
How to Speak Like a Leader
The truth is, there’s no magical combination of words that makes you sound like a leader every time. In fact, it’s not always so much about what you say as it is about how you say it.
Every situation is different, but if you are able to harness a few characteristics of strong leadership, then you will be well-equipped to respond to challenges and opportunities in a way that propels the upward momentum of your career path.
Here are a few tips on how to sound like a leader in your daily interactions and efforts:
- Be Aware Of Context – Speak like you know what’s going on and as if you have a full vision of the task at hand.
- Be Confident – Decisiveness is a key quality of leadership. Someone needs to make the decision – will it be you? Remember though, true confidence includes a dose of humility.
- Be Specific – Vagueness is akin to uncertainty, so don’t be afraid to drill into a subject and respond with laser focus.
- Be Forward-Thinking – Leaders see the future and make assumptions on what needs to be done today to get to where they need to be tomorrow.
- Be Solutions-Oriented – It’s easy to point out problems, but finding solutions where others can’t see them is the hallmark of a strong leader.
For some more inspiration, here are 3 phrases that will send a strong signal that you are ready for a higher role within your company.
3 Phrases That Make You Sound Like a Leader
1. “I’d like to better understand why…”
Leaders understand the big picture and a large piece of that vision is knowing ‘why’ something happens, not just the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of it.
Using this phrase (or some version of it!) will help demonstrate that you are thinking beyond your immediate tasks and attempting to understand how your work fits into the overall goals of the company.
A phrase like this becomes even more powerful if you are able to follow up with something that is oriented around “how does this support your work?”, which shows that you understand the interconnectedness of the company’s dynamics, as well as a willingness to work with others towards a common goal.
Of course, you do need to be careful when using this term as you do not want it to be perceived as insubordination or sarcasm.
Never simply ask “why?” in retort to a request to do something. Instead, look for opportunities in company-wide meetings where an open-minded discussion is appropriate.
2. “Feel Free To Ask Me Anything…”
This is a great statement that can be used with any co-worker or leadership within your company.
When you use this phrase with co-workers, you naturally position yourself as a leader because you are making yourself available to them to support them as needed.
The natural dynamic of a question and answer exchange typically presents the person answering the question as the one who holds a higher degree of knowledge or insight.
Additionally, using a phrase like this with other leaders or other people in a management position, helps them understand that you value transparency and that you are fully committed to the work that you are doing.
This also creates an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have a comprehensive understanding of your role within the company, and it may even provide the chance for you to show your leadership team what they don’t know.
3. “This is what I think is happening…”
Diplomacy is a key trait amongst leaders.
Reality dictates that if problems and conflict can arise during projects or within a company’s workflow then they will.
Leadership isn’t necessarily about avoiding problems, it’s about how you respond to them.
When conflict arises, if you can be the one to provide insight that is thoughtful and unbiased, then it is a strong way to demonstrate leadership across a team.
Of course, this does require owning admitting when you are wrong as well, but if you can articulate the problem as it appears, then you are also well-positioned to present a solution or encourage a solution-oriented response from other people on the team.
Overall, finding an upward path towards a higher role in your company will take hard work, strong communication, and embracing all of the challenges that are related to leadership. It’s important to stay calm under the pressure of it all and to focus on helping others work together to achieve a common goal. After all, if you simply say the words but you don’t put leadership actions behind them, it won’t matter how much you sound like a leader – you won’t come across as one.
If you can discover how to do that, then you will naturally demonstrate yourself as eligible for the next step up in your career.
Want to cultivate your leadership skills? An Executive Career Coach can help!